2016 Best MBAs: Molly Burd, Notre Dame

Molly Burd Notre Dame

Molly Burd


University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business

“Molly is justifiably proud of her joint military experience that involved all of the service branches – the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines – because collaboration is imperative for her. She is that rare leader who listens and engages others in finding solutions.”

Age: 31

Hometown: Centennial, Colorado

Education: United States Naval Academy, BS in Economics

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? United States Navy, Surface Warfare Officer

Where did you intern during the summer of 2015? Bank of America – Charlotte, North Carolina

Where will you be working after graduation? AT&T, Leadership Development Program – Dallas, Texas

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: Senior Vice President of Leadership, MBA Association; Ambassadors Program Manager (coordinated prospective candidate visits with current students through classroom, tour, and lunch engagement); School Inc. Tutoring Program Manager (revived program and coordinated graduate business students math tutoring sessions for local 4th and 5th grade students)

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Extracurricular achievement – My team won our Spring 2016 Interterm company deep dive competition. This was especially exciting as the company was AT&T (my future employer). We crafted most creative and achievable international expansion frameworks for AT&T’s expansion into Mexico and Latin America.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I chose to volunteer for a deployment to Baghdad, Iraq and work in a joint military environment with the US Army, US Marines, and US Air Force. I was the Program Manager for Operations Security (securing sensitive, but unclassified material) and developed an inaugural Operations Security training program for Iraqi soldiers who were training along side US forces.

Who is your favorite professor? Professor Tim Gilbride – he has high expectations and pushes his students to achieve more. And I love that his classes explore how to give marketing “teeth” with numbers!

Favorite MBA Courses? Marketing Analytics, Marketing Research, Experiential Marketing (Interterm course)

Why did you choose this business school? The values and the people. Notre Dame and Navy have many overlapping values and traditions (honor, hard work, team mentality) that made the transition just “make sense” for me. I also found that everyone I met from original recruitment through interviews and campus visits were so friendly – I knew these were folks I wanted to surround myself with.  Additionally, Notre Dame was a university I was very interested in for undergrad education; this was a second chance of sorts!

What did you enjoy most about business school? The opportunity to stretch outside my comfort zone – I’d gained great leadership and life experience through my time in the Navy. However, I didn’t have much experience with the private sector. Business school gave me an opportunity to “round” myself out and be a better asset to future employers.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from business school? Reviving time management skills.

What was the most surprising thing about business school? I’d heard business school could be pretty cutthroat – we’re all fighting for the best grades and the same internships and jobs. Notre Dame wasn’t that at all – we are all striving to do our best but not at the expense of each other. Very refreshing!

What was the hardest part of business school? Reviving expert time management skills – competing group meeting schedules coupled with extracurricular responsibilities made for a very busy schedule for two years!

What’s your best advice to an applicant to your school? If you get in, accept! And when you arrive in South Bend, get involved in ALL aspects of the university (both the graduate program and the university offerings). It’s been a great two years of academics, social activities, and sporting events – enjoy it all!

I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I knew I wanted to transition from the Navy but knew I needed a little more “polish” before entering the business world.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…sailing the high seas, driving a US Navy warship!”

What are your long-term professional goals? Continuing to stretch myself outside my comfort zones by embracing new roles in different business units within the AT&T family

Who would you most want to thank for your success? Definitely my family – their support from the day I set off for college to today has been tremendous and second to none. They’ve celebrated my wins and helped me up when I’ve stumbled – wouldn’t be where I am without them

Fun fact about yourself: I listen to NPR’s Morning Edition everyday – is that fun? Or not fun…?!

Favorite book: To Kill a Mockingbird

Favorite movie: The Sound of Music

Favorite musical performer: Jason Mraz

Favorite television show: Project Runway

Favorite vacation spot: Florida Keys with the family

Hobbies: outdoor activities (soccer, running, hiking); travel; spending time with my family

What made Molly such an invaluable addition to the class of 2016? “Molly fits the stereotype of the veteran MBA student in many ways. She’s highly organized and conscientious. She can adapt to last-minute changes and unexpected challenges with grace, and she’s fully committed to serving others and to performing even the smallest task with excellence. But Molly truly breaks the stereotype when you meet her. She’s gregarious, engaging and warm – not the “buttoned up” traditional MBA.

One of the ways that Molly demonstrated leadership during her time at Notre Dame included supporting admissions through arranging for student volunteers to host prospective MBA students. She had the skills to rally volunteers when necessary, but also the warmth to be a welcoming presence and “face of the program.” When she had the opportunity to go abroad for seven-week module in Chile, she came to me having already identified her ideal replacement in her role as Ambassadors Program Manager.

Molly is justifiably proud of her joint military experience that involved all of the service branches – the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines – because collaboration is imperative for her. She is that rare leader who listens and engages others in finding solutions.

Notre Dame has great respect for military service and a historical tie to the Navy, and Molly epitomizes the values that ND and the Navy share. Military is successful only when people work together, and yet hold themselves accountable for achieving at a high level. That’s Molly.” —

Kristin McAndrew, Director of Graduate Business Programs Admissions, University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business


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